Note: No show this week. A bolt of lightning took out one of my machines, the one I use to produce and edit the show. This happened yesterday, so I did not have time to make other arrangements. It is a pity as I had a great show planned. A new machine is on its so things should be back to normal next week. Today is a post from behind the Green Door that seems appropriate for the moment.
One of the more toxic aspects of modern politics is the generational stuff, which pits one generation of whites against another generation. While old people have always complained about the younger generation, it was historically in the context of concern for the future, not a competition for resources. In 20th century America, generational conflict became another exploitation vector by the ruling class.
That said, we are experiencing some weird generational warping. Baby Boomers, for example, came along in a unique time in history. They experienced the post-war expansion, the problems of the 1960’s and 1970’s and then the reforms that came in the 1980’s, which set off another run of good times. From the perspective of this generation, the system really works. It even fixes itself!
Younger generations have a different perspective, so their faith in the system is much lower and they are more open to questioning the system. The millennial that had to put up with diversity in school, along with endless lectures about diversity, even while enjoying material prosperity, is not going to be as patriotic about the American Way as his parents or grandparents.
Of course, the Zoomers are coming onto the scene as the American Empire shows all the signs of decline. It is an interesting contrast with the Boomers, who came on the scene when America was at her peak. The Boomers came along thinking everything was possible. The world was their oyster. The Zoomers came along in a time when people wonder if anything is possible.
There is something else. The Boomers were raised by a generation that was pretty sure that every problem had a solution. That solution, however, was not just ready to spring to your aid when you needed it. Like every generation before them, the Boomers were raised to make things, fix things and discover things on their own. While brimming with a sense of entitlement, they still had to make their way in the world.
In contrast, Zoomers were raised with the answers all around them. They have never known a time when you could not google the answer. This seems like a small thing, but it has an enormous cultural impact. For 10,000 years of human history, getting the answer meant work, real work and there was a good chance the answer was not available, but today it takes a few clicks and there is almost always an answer.
This contrast turns up in some strange ways. Here is a story about Zoomers bested by common office equipment. What is happening here is the young people are experiencing tools for the first time. A tool does nothing for you other than extend your own skills in some way. This seems strange to young people who look at everything as a technological shortcut to getting the desired result.
I have run into this in my work life. A story I love telling is about a summer intern we had about ten years ago. He broke the letter folding gizmo one day. He came into my office and told me the machine was not functioning. I told him it was probably a paper jam and told him that my tools were in the closet. Take it apart, clear the paper jam and reset the wheel that fed to paper through the machine.
He left and came back in a few minutes. He had no idea what he was looking for in the closet in terms of tools. I realized that he simply had no idea what I was asking of him, so I walked him through it. He looked on as I fixed the machine as if I was performing black magic. He actually asked me how I learned to do it. I showed him the instructions on the inside of the machine. He was still baffled.
Now that I am done with the old guy interlude, the Zoomers share something with the Boomers and that is being a unique generation. The Baby Boomers were the first generation to come into a world of mass prosperity. The Zoomers are the first generation raised on the internet. Both generations came into the world with expectations that were not like prior generations.
For the Boomers, this novel view of things was not much of a problem as the conditions that created the novel view have remained in place. For the Zoomers, it may not work out the same way. For them, life is going to be a real struggle as the country falls prey to its demographic changes. There will be no button to push to solve the reality of race and no place to hide from it.
This is going to make for some interesting generational conflict. The advice from old people will make as much sense as Charlie Brown’s teacher. “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” sounds like madness when the problem is demographics. On the other hand, the Zoomers blaming the Boomers for the decline of the country is going to strike the old folks as nothing but the mewing of ingrates.
Another weird thing will be the fact that the Zoomers distrust the American Way, but completely trust the technology of their life. Prior generations viewed technology as a tool to be used like any other tool. Zoomers think of technology as a natural and normal part of their ecosystem. They trust their mobile device more than they trust flesh and blood people. That is something new.
Regardless, the future belongs to the Zoomers as they will be around for it, so whatever skills they came into the world with will be what they use to navigate their way. If they are being bested by the copier, one should not be optimistic. Maybe the marching morons problem transcends demographics. On the other hand, maybe training on the office copier turns out to be good training for the war ahead.
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